How To Protect Child's Skin From Pool Water Chemicals: What To Care Before & After Swimming
Created by Janaki Srinivasan Updated on Oct 13, 2018
Summer’s already in and what better way to cool than to take some laps in the pool. Swimming is not just a great way to exercise but it also helps the mind stay calm and relaxed. But did you know that water in the swimming pools, whether indoors or outside are treated with chlorine and increased exposure to chlorinated water can be harmful for children? Does that mean that we must stay away from the pool this summer? Of course not. But be careful to stay safe and follow some simple steps to protect yourself and specially your child’s skin from the harsh chemicals.
Why Do Swimming Pools Use Chlorine? What Are the Problems Children Face?
Swimming pools use chlorine to prevent the buildup of bacteria and to protect swimmers. But then, when chlorine comes in contact with organic matter such as the skin or hair, they form disinfection byproducts (DBPs) that are more harmful than chlorine themselves. They cause weakening of the immune system, disruptions to the central nervous system and damaging effects to the cardiovascular system. Children exposed to chlorine for a long time could develop wheezing, breathing difficulties, sore throat/cough, eye/skin irritation, altered hormone levels (particularly in boys) and gut flora imbalance (beneficial bacteria in the digestive tract is destroyed leading to stomach disorders).
This is not meant to scare the parents but to increase awareness so that care can be taken to prevent and protect your child.
Tips To Protect Your Child Against the Chemicals in the Pool—
Here are some simple steps you can follow to protect your child against the harmful chemicals in the pool.
Choose an Outdoor Pool (If Possible)Given an option, always opt to use a pool that’s not indoors. Most of the problems with the chemicals in pools are from indoor pools where the chlorine hovers over the water with nowhere to go. Swimming indoors causes more respiratory and digestive issues than those outside. This is not to mark every pool outside as safe. If possible find pools that use salt water, UV or ionization to keep the water clean.
- If you have to choose a chlorinated pool, make sure you follow the following precautions before and after using the pool.
What To Care Before Swimming:
- Always use polyester swim suits instead of nylon or spandex as they are not just durable but offer better protection against chlorine
- Shower before swimming. Rinsing your child’s body helps the body against absorbing harmful chemicals. When chlorine reacts with sweat or ammonia, it turns into chloramine. And, rinsing removes excessive sweat. Also, remember to teach your child never to pee in the pool as chloramine is also formed when ammonia from urine comes in contact with the chlorine in the pool
- Remember to apply generous amounts of coconut oil before entering the pool. This forms and acidic layer and protects the baby from the alkaline structure of the chemicals and bacteria that might be in the pool. Alternately you could also apply pre-swimming moisturizing lotion
- Another option is to spray Vitamin C on the baby’s body and hair before he/she enters the pool
- Rinsing hair with a conditioner or applying baby oil/coconut oil also protects the hair from chlorine damage
- To protect the delicate baby skin from the sun you can opt for sunscreens which contain zinc oxide and titanium oxide. These not only protect the skin from the sun but also from chemicals in the pool
What To Care After Swimming:
- Make sure to give a quick rinse to your baby ALWAYS after leaving the pool. This will rid the skin of harmful chemicals from the pool. It is better to use Vitamin C, mixed with water to rinse your baby as it removes the smell of chlorine that remains even after leaving the pool.
- Apply natural moisturizers/ baby oil generously to the skin to prevent it from becoming dry and itchy. Water tends to remove natural oils from your baby’s delicate skin. For babies over 6 months you could use lavender bath salt in their bathtub to prevent itchiness.
- Wash the hair with a shampoo that has neutral pH to remove chlorine from the hair.
- It’s very important for the child to drink plenty of water after swimming to stay hydrated.
- Make sure your child always wears goggles while swimming to prevent redness. If you notice red eyes after swimming, flush the eyes with clear water and use cool compress to soothe the eyes
Summer without hitting the pool is no fun. With a little bit of care and precaution, we can make pool time enjoyable. Stay safe and enjoy!
Did you find these tips helpful? Would you like the share a few tips with fellow parents? Do mention them in the comments section below; we’d love to hear from you.